Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences

The first 5 years of a child’s life are a critical window for cognitive, physical, and social development.  Exposure to adverse experiences during this period and beyond in early childhood dramatically increases the potential for lifelong poor health and social outcomes. This in turn can result in substantially increased health care costs across an individual’s life span. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) — including neglect, abuse, exposure to violence, family dysfunction, etc. — also drive negative social outcomes, such as poor school performance and involvement in the juvenile justice system, often leading to poor health consequences later in life.

The ACE Quiz calculates three categories of Adverse Childhood Experiences; abuse, neglect and family/household challenges, each category is also divided into sub-categories. Based on how the participant answers, a score is calculated. Higher ACE scores have been directly linked to;

  • Risky behaviour as an adult (alcohol or drug use, smoking)
  • Chronic health problems (obesity, depression, heart disease, diabetes, stroke)
  • Low life potential, possible early death

When an ACE score gets higher than four, the implications can be startling. The likelihood of chronic pulmonary lung disease rises by 390%, of depression by 460% and suicide by 1220%. Youth who have experienced significant ACEs can interrupt potential developmental harm when given access to a variety of therapeutic interventions. Regular sessions with a mental health professional, trauma-informed care, the ACEs Quiz and referrals or in-patient options can help youth deal with complex traumas.

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